The Crazy of Tandem Nursing
The Crazy of Tandem Nursing
Happy World Breastfeeding Week!!! I would love to share with you my adventure in breastfeeding, more specifically, what tandem nursing has looked like in my life and in my children’s.
I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. I was encouraged by an amazing network of experienced mamas who supported me and my choice to breastfeed my first, even before I had her. Our nursing relationship started within the first hour of her birth and besides the first two weeks of constantly being latched (and the discomfort that came with that), our relationship grew and progressed very positively. I only once didn’t have enough milk, and that’s because I didn’t pump enough before leaving on an anniversary trip with my husband. But my sisters, who thankfully were also both breastfeeding their babies, shared some milk they had stored up and I had an amazing weekend away.
I had the goal of nursing to two years old, but that was more of a milestone than an end date.
Fast forward to having a nursing toddler and being pregnant with my son. I didn’t realize it, but my milk supply pretty much dried up. I had never heard the term “dry nursing” until recently, but that is what my daughter was doing. I was a bit sore and had to set boundaries and cut feedings short now and then because I was uncomfortable, but I still enjoyed nursing throughout my pregnancy and wasn’t ready to give it up.
When my son was born, my colostrum came in, then my milk came back with full force…..ouch! The first month of tandem nursing was tough. The first few weeks after birth are generally no walk in the park, but adjusting to life with two nursing children left me exhausted and an emotional mess. My daughter started acting like her two year old self, tantruming daily, demanding my milk and attention constantly. I felt guilty every time I had to tell her to wait for milkies or cuddles. My son was pretty easy and loved sleeping on his own, what a blessing that was, and he always was the priority to feed, change, and sleep! But I was in a constant state of planning the next feeds and naps and meals for my daughter and I, stressing about the crying fits…from all three of us!
Then I had an epiphany. I realized if I stopped nursing my daughter that day, she would be completely fine. If I ended our nursing relationship, that would be 100% okay for both of us. We had 2 amazing years, and she is a well adjusted, securely attached, and healthy 2 year old who knows she is loved and cared for! There would be no negatives (besides the initial emotions) for either of us, there actually would be some positives for me! So I decided I would stop nursing her, and be okay with it, whenever I chose.
Terms like Extended Breastfeeding, Child Led Weaning, and Tandem Nursing filled my Facebook newsfeed daily, and I used to feel like I wasn’t a good enough mom unless I made those things happen. But I got real with myself and my family needs. My daughter didn’t NEED to be breastfeeding and I didn’t NEED to nurse her. We would be okay.
Suddenly the pressure was off. I gave myself the space and the control of our nursing relationship. I set some boundaries, I only nurse at bedtimes and wake ups (4 times a day), and sometimes less or more depending on our happenings of the day. Nursing her became then enjoyable again, a special mommy-only time that I treasure. I believe Child Led Weaning can be a beautiful thing, and I plan to continue nursing as long as it works for both of us (and my family as a whole). But it is okay to be done, feel like it is no longer a good thing, or even need to cut down on the number of feeds. It is OKAY! And Good! And as a mother, I will give myself that space for a healthy relationship with my child, whether that means nursing or not.
Mother’s discontinue breastfeeding for many reasons. We will all come to a point where we no longer are nursing, and there needs to be healthy talk about those times of transitions. They can be emotional, stressful, confusing, and physically difficult (your hormones might go crazy!). We hope that your time nursing ends in a joyful, peaceful way that benefits both mother and child. If you are struggling with your breastfeeding journey, please contact us. We have amazing Lactation Consultants and trusted support resources for breastfeeding moms, lets make breastfeeding work for you and your baby!
Doula and Placenta Encapsulation Specialist in the Fraser Valley, including Abbotsford and ChilliwackAbbotsford Doula, breastfeeding, Chilliwack Doula, Family Choices, Newborn, nursing, tandem breastfeeding, toddler